There is no better celebration of the harvest season than Oliver’s annual Festival of the Grape (FOG) which takes place Oct. 4.
About 3,500 people are expected to once again converge on the Oliver Community Centre grounds for five, action-packed hours of grape-stomping, wine-tasting and entertainment good times.
Add the mouth-watering delights served up by the many on-site food specialty venues and the huge Kids Zone, the afternoon is totally family friendly and definitely puts the South Okanagan community event on the must-do map. It is presented by the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce and sponsored this year by Eastlink.
“In my experience the reason it is so much fun is it is an afternoon (noon to 5 p.m.) that is surrounded by all things Okanagan,” said April Goldade, head of FOG marketing and communications. “It’s family fun, the weather is usually beautiful and it’s one of our only outdoor festivals that features all the great things that the Okanagan has to offer.
“It has a real community atmosphere, it just kind of brings everybody together throughout the Valley because everybody is somehow connected; the growers, producers, industry people or just families that have been around here forever. Familiar faces come out for Festival of the Grape.”
A new and exciting component this year is Night FOG which takes place Oct. 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the community centre featuring live music from Oliver’s Wined it Up.
According to Brian Highley, the event’s entertainment chair, the evening is also a chance to showcase the growing number of local breweries, cideries and distilleries.
“We’re looking to expand the Festival of the Grape to a weekend party,” said Highley. “We have a lot of folks coming from out of town and they sort of descend on Oliver on the Saturday anyway and we thought having an event the night beforehand would be an awesome way to welcome visitors to the area by throwing them a great party.”
Wine lovers will be catered to the following day with over 50 wineries on the grounds and entertainment will be provided by Yukon songster Brandon Isaak and his Saints of Swing.
The grape stomp competition consists of two heats of six loud and costumed teams with the top three from each round meeting in the finals. There is also a kids stomp.
For more information including where to purchase tickets go to oliverfestivalofthegrape.ca.